Turning micro-influencers into brand ambassadors
Just this past week, Markerly released a study detailing the rise of the micro-influencer.
Markerly found that as an influencer on Instagram grows his/her audience–engagement typically drops. In many cases, micro-influencers provide higher engagement levels and conversion potential for brands – especially within niche audiences – according to the study. Hence, pulling together a plan on how best to identify and work with micro-influencers makes sense for brands looking to go beyond a baseline objective of reach and awareness.
Earlier this week, I was with my team at Olapic at the Savant E-Commerce Conference in Berlin. There, we spoke with eCommerce & marketing leaders on how to convert brand fans into visual marketing ambassadors. Many of a brand’s existing fans can already be considered “micro-influencers” … but how do we activate them?
Step 1: Do an Audit. Understand what is currently out there …
Less than 5% of attendees could tell how many photos were hashtagged with their brands’ name on social media demonstrating the continued lack of understanding in how to capitalize on visual user-generated, or earned, content. Listening to what customers are posting about a brand and their unique lifestyle preferences should, however, be a priority for modern B2C brands. For most brands, there is a wealth of consumers proudly using their products and showcasing them, but if no one is paying attention, the consumers’ high-value content will go unused and an opportunity to engage them is lost.
You wouldn’t ignore customers that come into your store, so why ignore them when they talk to you on social media?
Step 2: Establish a Process
Relevant processes can support brands in their effort to have an active influence on social and encourage micro influencers to engage and publish more content:
- Publishing – Where the brand posts content frequently in line with its positioning and communication across other channels.
- Fan identification – This process can vary depending on the amount of consumer content. Popular brands will have the challenge of addressing a large amount of content and filtering through the noise of irrelevant posts to identify and respond to consumers and fans. They can solve this issue through an automated process with technology such as Olapic’s Photorank™, which recognises the most relevant content based on an algorithmic formula.
- Fan engagement – Consumers and fans’ content should not stay unnoticed, so a brand should ensure someone on their team is going through the identified consumer content and is commenting or liking on relevant content.
Step 3: Establish a Culture of Participation and Contribution
Encouraging customers to engage with your brand and share relevant content will help learn which ones are posting most often and therefore, most likely to become loyal fans and ambassadors. Encouraging a culture of contribution amongst consumers will help support those objectives. Some ideas discussed at the Savant E-Commerce Conference that can help establish this culture include:
- Promote the brand hashtag in product packaging, in-store, at brand hosted events, online and in any other communication channels.
- Create competitions or sweepstakes where consumers are asked to share brand related content in exchange for the opportunity to win a prize.
- Once micro-influencers are identified, send them product samples in exchange for content publication with those products.
- Ensuring the ongoing promotion of a hashtag will help remind the consumer that the brand is looking to obtain more content from them on an ongoing basis, and a culture of contribution with that particular brand can be established.
Step 4: Make Content Shoppable
Once the brand has the regular consumer content contribution and ability to identify the users who post it, they will also be in a position to flag those who are fans and post most regularly. This is the moment when the brand should request permission from the users to publish their content in its own marketing efforts and on its website, while associating it with actual products to support the buying process with authentic consumer content.
Step 5: Analyse and Reward
Once fan content has been implemented across the buying journey, the brand will be able to analyse which consumer photos helped influence the most product purchases through technology such as Olapic’s Photorank™. Fan photos that influence product sales the most can then be more clearly identified as micro-influencers.
To support their contribution, the brand should then establish ambassador programs in a way that will reward them to ensure their ongoing support. This could be done in several ways, like featuring them more often or offering occasional special treatment, such as sending exclusive event invitations.
Although these five steps may work slightly differently depending on the nature of the business, having the right processes in place that work for your brand and establishing that culture of participation and contribution amongst consumers will certainly help drive more content, higher engagement and, ultimately, identify who your brand ambassadors are.
Here is the original post on turning fans into ambassadors.